This holiday season, pay it forward

This holiday season, pay it forward

by Emily SchettlerCopy Editor

In two years of waiting tables, I’ve seen my fair share of crazy customers, and the holiday season, unfortunately, can sometimes bring out the worst in people.

The rules are always the same. Be friendly. Wish them a happy holiday, but not a Merry Christmas. Don’t say anything that might offend someone, but don’t make it obvious that you’re trying to avoid the confrontation.

It’s enough to make me skip the holiday cheer altogether. “Here’s your food. Have a nice day.”

But something happened recently to give me a change of heart.

A couple of weeks after I left my last waitressing job, my boss called to tell me a gentleman had dropped off an envelope for me.

I thought it was strange. I didn’t have regular customers or anyone who’d be leaving things for me at work. I went in a few days later, and in the envelope was a tip.

The man had left me $11 and a note apologizing for forgetting to tip me! I was shocked.

He left his phone number and asked that I call him when I received it. I did, and he apologized again for forgetting the tip.

He told me that I’d done a good job, and he likes to reward people who work hard. I was really flattered and pleased, hard work can pay off.

But it went beyond receiving a little extra cash, it reminded me that some people really do care about doing the right thing.

As a waitress, I make a point to tip well when I go out to eat, but even I’ve forgotten a time or two. I feel bad for a while, but the feeling soon subsides.

Here’s a guy who noticed almost a month later, when he received his credit card bill, and felt compelled enough to make a special trip to the restaurant to make sure I received the money.

Not only that, but he probably gave me much more than he would have originally.

When I left the restaurant that night, I was in the best mood I’d been in in a long time.

I drove through a construction zone and let a few people ahead of me who’d been waiting for a while in a blocked lane.

I was friendly to the woman who checked me out at the grocery store, and I think she noticed the extra smile. I hope she passed it on to the customers after me, and that they passed it on too.

That one simple act set off a chain of good events. I’ve been intrigued by the idea of paying it forward, but had never really bought into it before.

Now I realize that those little acts of kindness can make a big difference.

The holiday season is in full swing, the holiday shopping season that is.

I enjoy opening presents as much as the next person, but when did that become the most important part of Christmas?

Almost 32,000 people were waiting at Jordan Creek Town Center when the doors opened at midnight. Shoppers at a Wal-Mart in New York got so impatient they ripped the doors right off their hinges and trampled a store worker.

I think it’s time to re-prioritize and appreciate the holiday season for what it’s meant to be.

Start by doing something nice for someone else, tip your waitress for example.